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81 Quest for Advancemen
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The Real Monster
Author :vOnKreigerXXV
© Webnovel

81 Quest for Advancemen

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While the battle unfolded beneath the hill he was standing on, on the plain field where the battle's intensity was highest. Clay stood like an overwatch. Lording over the army and the undead. Clay had made Ryan fall asleep secretly as he also planned to make his move tonight.

In the years that Clay had helped the Liberation Army in winning battles and training them, Clay's thirst for power had also brought him to the brink. Not to the brink of death but to the brink of insanity. His thirst for power, just like every goddamn power-hungry individual in history always fell to the temptation and corruption of power. It was written that, "power corrupts, even the purest of hearts."

And today, Clay's condition can only be described as such. He did not care about the battle unfolding below him as he immediately disappeared and let the course of the battle flow as it should be. Although the army of 800 could handle themselves expertly after countless battles and victories, they still had to rely on Clay's runes in their armor to stand back up whenever they are knocked down. With Clay's supervision, they would have been able to avoid unnecessary casualties, without him, they'd sooner die than grow.

Clay used space magic to lock onto the location of Marduke, the Grand Lich that currently occupied the tower. This tower was pivotal to the scheme of the Grand Liches to make the Sun disappear. Although, it was such a pivotal and strategically important location, the security in this place was minimal.

According to the Grand Liches, the less important the structure looked, the less it would be targeted, and the more heavily fortified the place was, it would be prone to attacks instead. It was a classic reverse psychology on a planetary scale.

However, Clay cared neither for their reverse psychology nor their goals and plans. What Clay came for was Marduke's Grimoire. The only record of his magic experiments and life-time work.

Arriving at a dark place where even the candlelight was dim, and the color of the fire was green and eerie, Clay appeared silently. In front of him was a throne occupied by a Grand Lich, a Lich that looked quite ghastly. It was Marduke.

In his surprise, Marduke jumped up closer and made his back straight as he leaned against the throne's backrest. He then immediately shot spell after spell towards this intruder. His surprise did not hinder him from executing the most lethal and most sinister magic spells he had accumulated in his lifetime.

"Dark Hex!" "Shattered Soul!" "Venom's Tongue!" "Carrion Degeneration!"

Each of Marduke's spells had an effect that could kill even the sturdiest monsters and beasts, much less humans. However, as Marduke finished all the spells and hurled them towards Clay, he had an incredibly nervous feeling that even those spells were useless in the face of this intruder.

And he was right. Even as his mana depleted after the spells, he casted, he did not give up and used magic stones that store mana inside them and released another grand spell to hurl towards Clay. This was his final and strongest struggle.


The dim candlelight grew vigorous as Marduke mouthed the spells in a language that even he did not fully understand. Different from the Abyssal language, this was more sinister in origin. Clay heard this language and immediately mastered it and UltiCo integrated it into his repertoire.

"The fetters that bind the souls of the dead, come forth and devour the feast I have set! Soul Eater!" Marduke basically chanted this cringey line and only spoke the name of the spell translated in Abyssal Language called Soul Eater. As the name implies, it summons the soul of the dead in a large area and directs them to devour the target, even to the soul-level, leaving nothing behind. Without the magic stone that Marduke used, he wouldn't have been able to invoke such a spell.

The waves of magic that erupted from the invocation of this spell had world-wide repercussions. The effect on Evernight would be evident as the soul of each person that died to the undead slowly rose from the depths. However, only those within the vicinity of the tower could be controlled by the spell. The rest of the world had souls wandering the world of the living because of this spell. And whatever living people they encounter they will devour. Even the undead. However, Clay did not notice this, as a part of his goal was right in front of him. The grimoire of Marduke. The screams of his army were more intense, and grief stricken, however he brushed this off as the intensity of battle. Even now, he was getting scratches all over his body from the Damage Transfer.

Clay watched Marduke as he was panic-spawning spells. Each spell he took was analyzed by UltiCo and became part of him and even opened different skills in him. However, skills and spells were not Clay's goal, it was different.

Finally, Clay spoke as the spell Soul Eater slowly materialized in front of him.

"Marduke. Grand Lich. You need not know my name; however, I need to look at your Grimoire." Without further ado, Clay extended his right arm towards Marduke's direction and telekinetically grasped his Grimoire, even probing the sub-spaces connected to Marduke to see if he had an interdimensional storage like he did.

Finding nothing of the sort, he grabbed the Grimoire and shut Marduke up using telekinesis. Binding him and disabling him thoroughly.

Clay read the Grimoire thoroughly and made UltiCo memorize its contents and further analyze its content and then immediately threw the Grimoire into his Dimensional Storage. Inside, there were more than 30 Grimoires all belonging to the Liches that Clay had killed while moving forwards to this place.

Without moving from his spot, as he knew that his men could take hours and hours of battle against the undead, he did not immediately go back. He stayed and studied the Grimoire further. Just standing there and studying made Clay even more mysterious in the eyes of Marduke who could neither speak nor move.

"Your studies interest me, especially in the aspect of souls. Aside from you, and Elyenthel's Grimoires I think I should pay a visit to Elkanor as well just to be safe. Afterall, they may have delved into "Soul Study" as well… just like you." Clay spoke unemotionally. As if he was talking to an ant that needed no respect nor a shred of emotion. With Ryan in his left arm tucked in, Clay held the Grimoire in his right hand and flipped pages using his mind.

"It interests me that you think the soul can be used to further enhance strength. I like this idea. Would you like to work with me to further this study? Of course, you would have to serve as my experimental material. Right?" Clay proposed such, which made Marduke, a Grand Lich to feel ice cold fear and anxiousness.

"My quest for advancement is proceeding nicely thanks to you and your colleagues. I must thank you of course. However, since I grow tired of waiting for the army to finish their Liberation efforts, I'll just have to pay Elyenthel and Elkanor a visit right now. Marduke, you stay here and be a good boy, will you?" Without even a blinking, Marduke saw Clay disappear right in front of him as if nothing. He felt the fluctuation of mana, but he could not detect the initial movement within the body to perform a spell. As if this man used magic by will, even worse, if magic was under his will. No magician, undead or not can oppose him. The thought scared Marduke to the bone and this fear gripped him by the throat.

***

In another region where the specters ruled the night. Spirits and ghosts were roaming and floating around a castle-like structure in the middle of a quiet forest.

This was Elyenthel's Lair.

Just after their gathering at the Tower where Marduke protected magic array that inhibited the Sun's shine on Evernight, Elyenthel came back and continued his experiments as well, regarding spirits. He specialized in researching spirits as opposed to what Marduke did which involved souls. Spirits were ethereal beings that constitute a living being in Evernight.

Spirits that are more powerful like that in Alleucanth are non-existent here. The spirits that are separated from the vessel and the soul become wandering spirits on Evernight. In time, they become specters that are corrupted by the miasma in the atmosphere.

This was where Elyenthel's specialty comes in. he dominates the specters using his own created techniques in necromancy.

While he was conducting his experiment on the underground dungeons of the castle while a host of specters are trapped in a magic array, Clay arrived behind him. The specters were quiet as Clay arrived as if they did not notice him or that they just couldn't peep at all.

Clay skipped the introductions and proceeded to binding Elyenthel and gagging him. He had after all, the element of surprise.

Gasp!

With a single gasp as his response, Elyenthel also succumbed to the same fate as Marduke in the hands of Clay. He took Elyenthel's years upon years of research in his Grimoire and read it, studied it and memorized it. He did not even initialize a discussion with Elyenthel and just left without releasing him. Of course, Clay's binding remained. It was a harrowing experience for the powerless necromancer.

***

In another location, in another region unknown to most and even the rest of the Grand Liches, was Elkanor. She was bathing in the blood of humans that she had cultivated through some magical means. These humans only bled for her sake. For pleasure and food, although in this world, vampires like her did not need food to survive, it was still pleasurable.

Elkanor was the only Vampire Ancestor that she knew of. She did not even know if there were others like her, but she enjoyed her status as one of the Grand Liches that ruled Evernight. For with authority and status came freedom. She was free from vampire purges and even the despicable misogyny in the ancient past.

Soundlessly, Clay appeared at the poolside as Elkanor was having her bath. Seeing Elkanor's body was no longer a thing for Clay. Although she was a voluptuous beauty, that pleasure was after all momentary and fleeting.

Elkanor hadn't noticed Clay's appearance at all and the moment Clay lifted his right arm towards her, that was when she reacted. Her senses towards the movement of magic was sensitive to a fault and had saved her many times over in the past. Now, she was confident that she would turn the tables on this intruder if she avoided the first strike. However, her expectations did not pan out.

Clay grabbed her telekinetically and lifted her off the water and into the open air. Revealing her full figure. Clay was tempted to whistle but fought that urge and then spoke to her this time.

"You are Elkanor, Vampire Ancestor. We need to talk." Said Clay. His tone containing no space to argue or even refuse. He immediately walked towards the throne room where Elkanor usually stayed in. the Vampires that were serving her and were under her influence all reacted aggressively towards the intruder and attacked Clay.

In retaliation, Clay only glared at them and they began to disintegrate as if they were beamed by the sun itself. In fact, Clay simply utilized his innate ability to harness the Sun's energy to project it through his eyes which manifests in the ability called "heat vision."

"G-Get back! Do not antagonize him! Retreat and do not come inside unless you are called!" Elkanor ordered even while she struggled to open her mouth as Clay's grip on her whole body was tight. Of course, she was able to speak only because Clay needed to speak to her. She was after all, knowledgeable in a certain aspect of necromancy. She may be able to help him answer some questions.

Arriving at the throne and sitting there. Clay put Elkanor in front of him while she lay sitting on the red carpet while naked. Clay snapped his finger and instantly a new set of all black tights wrapped Elkanor's body to cover her up.

"I will ask only a single time. Hand me your Grimoire and tell me your research direction. If it pertains souls, it would be of help. If not, then don't even talk about it. However, the Grimoire still comes out." Clay did not leave any room for negotiations as he ordered Elkanor. Fearing for her life, Elkanor, gestured and what seemed to be a mist of blood appeared above her palm and as it disappeared, what replaced it was a book, obviously the Grimoire.

"Here is my Grimoire. How do I address this Lord?" Elkanor hoped to at least know who this intruder was; however, Clay ignored her query and took the Grimoire perused it and threw it inside his storage.

"Your research seems to go in the direction of cloning and harvesting blood to strengthen your own people. I have miscalculated. So, if not you, then who among the Grand Liches deals with souls? The brute, Ackers?" Clay mused aloud and was heard clearly by Elkanor.

"Souls? Then you are correct. Ackers does employ the best soul art necromancy among all of us. After all, he needs the souls of countless soldiers to be under his control to command and create more death knights and undead soldiers." Said Elkanor as she expressed her hope in saving her own skin.

"Hmm... I should pay this Ackers a visit before my son wakes up." Clay stood up from his seat and took a step forward to leave, however, as he was standing up, the door to the audience hall opened up and the voice of a panicked vampire servant resounded inside saying, "Mistress! Souls have cropped up from every known crypt and graveyard, even on the side of the roads where people have died countless times. That's not the worst part! They are devouring anything that moves within their range. It's chaos out there!"

Hearing this report, Clay knew that Marduke's spell was not as simple as he thought. He checked the whole world for movement and the effect of the spell Marduke casted. A few seconds later, his face started to have a surprised expression, followed by guilt and then grief.

He saw the soldiers that he so hardly trained were sprawled on the floor with their souls devoured by the Soul Eaters that Marduke set upon the world.

He was grieved. Clay was too confident in his runes that he let slip the fact that spiritual attack or even soul attack could still kill his men. The bodies sprawled on the ground along the undead did not have injuries physically, only their souls were devoured. An empty husk, literally.

His guilt slowly turned Clay's complexion paler until it was almost as white as sheet. His aura slowly changed, and his mind closed itself off. He put the never-grounded Ryan on the throne as his grating voice was left behind which only Elkanor could hear, "Not a hair shall be ruffled on my son. Your lives depend on it." Clay disappeared from the throne room right after Elkanor heard his warning.


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